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Jordan says Israel aims to expel Palestinians from Gaza

israeli soldiers operate at the shajaiya district of gaza city amid the ongoing conflict between israel and the palestinian islamist group hamas, in the gaza strip
Israeli soldiers operate at the Shajaiya district of Gaza city amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in the Gaza Strip December 8, 2023. REUTERS/Yossi Zeliger ISRAEL OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN ISRAEL

Jordan’s foreign minister, Ayman Safadi, on Sunday said that Israel was implementing a policy of pushing Palestinians out of Gaza through a war that he said meets the “legal definition of genocide”, allegations that Israel rejected as “outrageous”.

Safadi, whose country borders the West Bank and absorbed the bulk of Palestinians after the creation of Israel in 1948, also said that Israel had created hatred that would haunt the region and define generations to come.

Israel launched the offensive in response to an Oct. 7 cross-border killing and kidnapping spree by gunmen from Hamas, the Islamist militant group that is sworn to its destruction.

“What we are seeing in Gaza is not just simply the killing of innocent people and the destruction of their livelihoods (by Israel) but a systematic effort to empty Gaza of its people,” Safadi said at a conference in Doha.

“We have not seen the world yet come to the place where it should come … an unequivocal demand for ending this war; a war that is within the realm of legal definition of genocide.”

Asked to respond, Israeli government spokesperson Eylon Levy said: “These are, of course, outrageous and false accusations.”

“Israel is fighting to defend itself from the monsters who perpetrated the Oct. 7 massacre, and the purpose of our campaign is to bring those monsters to justice and ensure they can never again hurt our people,” he added.

Israel has been urging Gaza civilians to relocate from battlegrounds for their own safety and would like to see others echo that call, he said.

Safadi argued that Israel’s avowed goal of destroying Hamas was belied by the extent of destruction among Gaza civilians, which he described as indiscriminate, accusing Israel of committing atrocities he said amounted to war crimes.

Safadi also said that major differences had surfaced in talks between a delegation of Arab ministers and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington last Friday over the U.S. administration’s military support for Israel and its refusal to call for a ceasefire.

Philippe Lazzarini, the commissioner general of UNRWA, the U.N. body responsible for the welfare of Palestinian refugees, said in an op-ed that the forcible displacement by Israel of more than 1.8 million Gazans, the largest since 1948, also signalled Israel might be pushing Gazans towards neighbouring Egypt.

“The United Nations and several member states, including the U.S., have firmly rejected forcibly displacing Gazans out of the Gaza Strip,” Lazzarini wrote in the Los Angeles Times.

“But the developments we are witnessing point to attempts to move Palestinians into Egypt, regardless of whether they stay there or are resettled elsewhere.”

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